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How to Freeze Fresh Fish in 6 Easy Steps

Harvesting your own catch is one of the great joys of fishing. As our ancestors did, there is a primal satisfaction in having the ability not only to find and catch fish successfully, but to prepare and serve them as nourishment for your loved ones. Once you’ve mastered the art of filleting (or cleaning) the fish, you’ll need to know how to freeze fresh fish properly. This is key for preserving the flavor and quality of every fillet. Read on to learn how to freeze fresh caught fish in six easy steps.

  1. Place on ice immediately. Keep the fish submerged in ice until ready to fillet.
  2. Process and sort into meal-size portions. Clean your catch as quickly as possible. Cut and sort fillets based on how many you plan to cook at once.
  3. Rinse with cold water. This will help remove any leftover slime, particulate, or other contaminants that could compromise the flavor. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  4. Place into plastic bags. It’s recommended to use quart-size bags and place three to four fillets in each. Some people argue about how to freeze fresh fish, suggesting that water be added in the bags, however, this can turn meat to mush if not careful.
  5. Remove air. Air exposure can lead to freezer burn, destroying the meat. Using a vacuum sealer is an effective preservation method, but you can also use plastic zip-top bags. Prepare a large bowl of water and dip the bottom of the open bag into the water until it reaches the top of the fish (but not overflowing into the bag). This acts as a vacuum sealer, forcing out the air. Zip the top securely before freezing fish.
  6. Wrap in butcher paper. If the plastic bag gets punctured in the freezer, this will protect the contents from exposure to cold air and freezer burn.

When ready to eat, thaw with cold water or in the refrigerator overnight. Knowing how to freeze fresh caught fish properly will ensure you don’t let any of your catch go to waste and can provide a fresh, wholesome, and tasty meal for your family. Now that you know how to freeze fresh fish, dig up that family recipe and put your new skills to the ultimate taste-test!


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Alycia Downs

Alycia Downs

Alycia Downs is a freelance content creator and avid sportsman who contributes to numerous publications promoting tourism, fishing, and outdoors. Alycia is a member of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association and is actively involved with conservation and fishing non-profit organizations. Visit her personal blog at tideandtale.com or on Instagram @tideandtale.